Girl Untubed

October 16, 2008

Since Mariah was hospitalized in Lima, Peru, on June 17, she has endured a hydra of tubes; tubes for ventilation, feeding through the nose and another into the stomach, oxygen, a catheter, and several IVs up and down her arms and hands. One by one they were removed, affording increments of independence and convenience. Today, the last tube was finally removed – the feeding tube inserted through her belly and into her stomach. (If you’re not squeamish, click here for a “before” picture.)

At 11:30 am on Thursday, in the space of five seconds, a doctor’s mighty tug completed Mariah’s liberation from outward signs of medical mechanical dependence. Her eyes were wide as saucers, and a gasp of relief broke from her.

She’d had nothing to eat or drink since dinner on Wednesday. By Thursday evening she could drink clear liquids, but still no solid food until Friday morning. It’s ironic that the removal of a long-unused feeding tube would necessitate a 36-hour fast. In any event, we’ll indulge in an all-you-can breakfast of eggs, pancakes, biscuits, bacon, and sausages at the canteen tomorrow.

While she rested in bed in the afternoon, I told her she could relax for the rest of the day. She said, “I don’t want to relax. I want to run.” “On the treadmill?” I asked. “No,” she replied, “I want to run with [her dog] Chai.” Some people chomp down on freedom.

– Mark


9 Responses to “Girl Untubed”

  1. Jenni said

    Baby steps, M…you’re getting better…day by day you ARE actually doing it! You make me proud, my love.

  2. Grandma said

    GREAT One more step toward independence. Our Scrabble group went out for Chinese this noon. Pretty darn good. When you come down, we can go, if you like.
    The Haley VA center in Tampa just opened a multitrauma unit. Sounds a lot like where you are, sweetie.
    Love and kisses

  3. Cousin Wayne said

    Happy to hear that the tubes are gone. It was good to see that you have a device that helps you read. Please take care.

  4. Leah said

    Excellent news. If the gut works you need to use it, starting with the mouth down. I hope your apple wasn’t too bruised, they are delish. Love you and miss you.


  5. Cyndie said

    For many weeks I’ve read along, and participated from afar in some of your trials and victories, but haven’t known what to say to you. I still don’t, but I hope you know that you are loved and admired by many more than you realize and I have had you in my mind and prayers. I’m in Korea so I won’t have a chance to visit you for a long time, but I look forward to it!

  6. Aunt Judy said

    Yipee! Freedom from tubes. You go girl! Holly’s first high school report card was good – 5 A’s & 1 B. We took Grandma and stuffed ourselves on pizza to celebrate. Aimee called yesterday to tell me she got a 94 on her Macro Economics class mid-term. We’re very excited. So much good stuff going on all around. We are celebrating all of your successes with you. Love to see your smiling pictures. Keep up the good work, Sweetie. We love you! Aunt Judy

  7. Michele from Greenbelt said

    YEAH!!!! Mariah, you are so awesome!!! I have decided to challenge myself in 09 and complete the iron girl trialathon in Columbia, MD, I hope you will be there to cheer me on across the finish line. Keep getting strong…Michele

  8. Molly said

    Congratulations Mariah! I’m so proud of your courage and strength ever since Peru and am amazed each time I read how much progress you are making. Keep up the great work.
    Love Always,

    PS. So far so good in Vet School. I’m going to start sending some of my homework to you!!!

  9. Jonathan Shearer said

    You are my inspiration Mariah! I hope to be in the DC area in Febuary 2009. Hopefully when I am there we can go for a little jog together, I’ll try to keep up. I love reading about the wonderful progress you are making! Hang in there Kiddo!

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